Metro’s  gradual effort to speed up its principal routes comes to Burien and SW Seattle:

With more than 7,000 boardings a day, the Route 120 is one of Metro’s 10 busiest bus routes. Metro has received a state grant to improve the speed and reliability of the route, and has several changes planned that will be rolled out in coordination with the cities of Burien. They include:

•  Reduce the number of closely spaced bus stops to help buses move faster and operate on a more reliable schedule;  [see below]
•  Improve features at bus stops, such as installing new shelters and benches;
•  Add a northbound bus lane and bike lanes on Delridge Way Southwest; [diagram (pdf) here]
•  Install a “bus bulb” sidewalk extension for faster boarding at 26th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Barton Street; and
•  Install transit signal priority at many traffic signals between the Burien Transit Center and the West Seattle Bridge.

The open house will be held:

Tuesday, April 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle

You can also learn more about the project and comment online. The deadline for comments is Friday, April 27.

If you have questions about the open house or project, please contact DeAnna Martin, community relations planner at (206) 263-9768 or by email.

The change would occur around the new year. This page has much more information about the change.

Of the 89 stops between S Spokane St and Burien TC, about 21 would disappear, but they’d still be less than a quarter mile apart. About 17% of riders in that segment would have their stop disappear or move. The stop changes will also affect routes 125, 128, 22, 85, 133, and 560.

See also Bruce’s analysis of ridership patterns on this route.

23 Replies to “Metro Planning Route 120 Changes”

    1. Hopefully, the time saved will cancel out the travel time added by diverting to Westwood Village, begining September, to meet RapidRide C.

  1. This is a much needed enhancement to the 120 (the bike lanes are an added bonus). The only thoughts I have are:

    (1) is it a 24 hour bus lane or a peak only/parking all others lane?

    (2) that entrance to the West Seattle bridge is going to get wonky, with 95% of traffic attempting to merge to the right lane after Andover to go over the bridge, it could get pretty hairy, and I’d be curious if it’ll make it an accident prone ramp. Would it be possible to do some tricky striping on the ramp so that the left lane would be striped to go to either ramp, with the buses merging (with priority) into that lane? That would prevent copious amounts of cars attempting to swerve at the last second.

    1. The metro reps who came to the Delridge District Council meeting last night said the bus lanes would be AM peak only, and be available for parking the rest of the day.

      1. and only in the peak direction, I presume…

        Who is lobbying to keep parking in the bus lanes?

      2. As far as I know, nobody in the neighborhood has been directly advocating for maintaining off-peak parking. I know that parking concerns killed a similar proposal on Delridge several years ago – perhaps metro planners were just being prudent? As a frequent 120 rider, I can say that AM peak northbound lanes will make a HUGE difference for the efficiency of the route, but other times of the day the auto traffic is light enough that the lack of transit-only lanes will have a smaller effect.

      3. SDOT thought allowing parking in the counter-peak bus lane on 15th Ave W wouldn’t slow buses down significantly. When the topic comes up, the riders of the 15/18 say SDOT was way wrong. It does take longer to travel in the counter peak direction. In terms of added service hours, those parking spaces are costing taxpayers through the nose.

  2. is it a 24 hour bus lane or a peak only/parking all others lane?

    I have no factual data in this matter whatsoever, but I’d suspect 24 hour. There’s no shortage of off-street parking in this neighborhood, so the parking lane is just there to fill up the extra ROW, rather than due to any actual need for parking.

  3. When you compare the 120’s routing with RR C’s from Westwood Village, it seems awfully strange that this is a standard route and the C’s route is called “Rapid Ride”.
    I get that RR C does more than run from Westwood Village to Downtown and will facilitate trips between Westwood, Fauntleroy and the Junction too, but when you look at them side by side it becomes clear that Metro may have tried to do too much with RR C’s routing.
    Maybe I’m missing something but that C route looks a whole lot slower.

    1. My recollection is that when the C route was first announced, it only went as far as Fauntleroy. I vaguely recall making a suggestion that it be extended to Westwood. I suspect a lot of other people did also.

      It probably made more sense to terminate the route at Westwood because there is more space for buses to layover.

      Westwood will be very easy to get to by bus once all the service changes are in place. The RR C, the 120, and the 21 will all go there. I think the 21 will have 15 minute headways, so there will be a lot of service to Westwood.

      1. I’m sure you’re right. For a rider standing at Westwood though, they’ll have three choices to get downtown, and “Rapid Ride” C will be the slowest.
        I like what they’re doing with the bus stop consolidation on the 120. Just hope the negative nellys don’t come out and put a stop to it.

      2. And yet Rapid Ride D gets to end at a QFC instead of the Northgate Transit Center. *sigh*

    2. If it’s anything like RapidRide D, it’s littler more than a shell of what it used to be. Other than stop consolidation and signal priority, RR D is little more than what the route 15 should have been.

      1. d.p.,

        By not applying the red paint job, the 120 gets to keep a printed schedule. Isn’t that better than schedule-free RapidRide?

    3. From what I’ve heard here, Metro’s planners wanted the 120 to be the RapidRide route because of the high ridership, low incomes, and food desert in Delridge. But they were overruled by higher-ups. The main reason mentioned was the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, but I suspect it’s also because it would be unthinkable to bypass Alaska Junction, which has been the center of West Seattle and the main transfer point for a century. In other places you’d just have a straight bus route from Delridge to Alaska Junction, but West Seattle is so hilly that it’s hard to get from one part to another without detouring to the only through street.

      1. A certain former county council member once told me that Vashon was 1/10th of his constituents and 9/10ths of his visitors.

        They’re so powerful, they even have an ST Express route designed to pick them up at the ferry dock and get them to the airport (not that they make use of it judging by that bus’s extreme emptiness). Since Vashon isn’t even part of the ST sales tax district, that route really galls the taxpayer advocate in me. Every time I hear someone defending the supposed direct ride between West Seattle and the airport, I suspect they aren’t really from West Seattle, but from Vashon.

        But then, the 120, with much higher ridership, gets the better-than-RapidRide treatment (since it gets to keep a printed schedule), and nobody comments on the blogs of anyone covering it. I see what that former county council member was talking about.

  4. Not sure if this is completely on topic, but traffic signal priority often pops up on potential action lists for these projects. Is there any kind of summary or map of intersections/corridors where TSP has been implemented, installed and in use?

  5. I am excited about these improvements to Line 120. The northbound bus lane approaching the West Seattle bridge will be a great timesaver in the morning (there is no backup at other times of day, so the lane priority is not needed).

    I have two comments about the stop consolidations:
    – Convenient stops should be placed near Orchard Way, to transfer point to Route 128.
    – I don’t understand why the Webster Street stop is chosen in favor Holden Street. On Bruce’s plot, the Holden Street is well-used, and has a more significant walkshed.

    1. Holden is a better stop in my opinion as well. That staircase to the east is magic for the walkshed.

      1. But now that I look, on Metro’s map, Holden appears completely cut off (as it exists for cars), not continuous (as it exists for pedestrians). If you ignore that staircase, the walkshed of that stop gets much worse. Perhaps Metro’s mapping software is only taking driveable routes into account?

  6. I submitted comments that the 120 would be a better route to reach the airport. We’ll see how far that goes.

  7. These aren’t specific to the 120, but they are simple and cheap, and bear repeating:

    Is the 120 going Orion, will it have passive restraint slots, and will there be a canned recording “You may now exit at all doors”, specifically for the stops where nobody is getting on and lots of riders are alighting?

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